When celebrities get divorced, it’s usually a big deal. Everyone wants to know whether someone cheated, which celebrity they’ll date next, and most important, what really caused them to breakup.
It turns out, stars really are just like the rest of us.
According to Hollywood divorce attorney Laura Wasser, who has represented high-profile clients like Angeline Jolie, Jennifer Garner, and Kim Kardashian, the number one reason celebrities get divorced is that they’ve simply grown apart.
“They might not always say this, but that’s the underlying reason,” Wasser, 49, says, noting that it’s the same for regular married couples who split. “When people have extramarital affairs, or money problems, those may lend to a separation. But the underlying problem with divorce is just that they’ve grown apart.”
Read more about celebrity divorce lawyer Laura Wasser in the new issue of PEOPLE, on stands Feb. 2.
As for why people grow apart? “It may just be the natural evolution of the couple,” she says. She adds, “It may also be they’re not communicating well. That’s a huge thing, not only if you’re in a relationship, but it you also want to make it work after you’ve split up. If you still have a connection, like kids or a business partnership, you have to be able to communicate.”
Of course, she says sometimes that’s easier to do after divorce: “Sometimes it’s just easier to talk after you’ve split up,” she says. “If that’s the case, you’ll be able to co-parent much more effectively.”
As or what couples should be communicating about to keep on the same page throughout the marriage, Wasser has a lengthy list.
“Even if you don’t have prenuptial agreement, you should have conversations about things you otherwise wouldn’t talk about. These are not very sexy, romantic conversations, but they are things that set the expectations in the relationship.”
“My parents are getting older. Are they going to live with us, or will we put them in assisted living? What religion are we going to raise our children? Are they going to private or public school? What age do you think we’re going to retire? Are you going to want to go back to work after we have children?”
As for trying to keep things civil in the event that you do go through a divorce, Wasser has two words of advice.
“Remember this is a business transaction,” she says. “So let’s take the emotion out of it and figure out the business of dividing assets and custody.”
“The other thing is, remember this is someone you married. Try to tap into those good memories, because there must have been some. This is a person you’re going to have to be dealing with for the rest of your life, so figure out a way to do it before the anger and animosity starts to make your face look bad.”